This Tofu Pad Thai recipe is made with fresh simple ingredients and comes together in just 20 minutes. It’s a healthy Thai noodle dish that is vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

a bowl of vegan pad thai in a bowl on a white marble board

What is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a traditional stir-fried noodle dish served in Thailand. This dish features stir-fried rice noodles complemented by a choice of protein, such as tofu, shrimp, or chicken, all coated in a light and fresh Pad Thai sauce that is the perfect balance between sweet and tangy.

It’s commonly served as street food or in restaurants throughout Thailand. One of my favourite experiences was learning how to cook an authentic Pad Thai in Thailand.

To make this Tofu Pad Thai vegan-friendly it doesn’t use all the same ingredients as a traditional recipe. Here we’ll substitute fish sauce for soy sauce and omit the egg used in a traditional Pad Thai recipe.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and easy: This Pad Thai recipe comes together in just 20 minutes!
  • Vibrant Flavor: combining sweet, salty, savoury and tangy flavors that will have you coming back for more.
  • Vegan and gluten-free friendly: this recipe uses ingredients suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet.
  • Versatile: customize this recipe with any vegetables or protein you love.

Tofu Pad Thai Ingredients

*The full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

  • Rice Noodles: Provides a gluten-free base for the dish.
  • Extra-Firm Tofu: Adds a protein-packed element with a satisfying texture.
  • Garlic Clove: Infuses the dish with aromatic flavor.
  • Garlic Chives: Adds a mild onion flavor for depth.
  • Soy Sauce: Provides the savory umami flavor.
  • Coconut Sugar: Offers a touch of sweetness to balance the dish.
  • Lime: Adds a refreshing citrusy kick.
  • Bean Sprouts: Provides crunch and freshness.
  • Green Onion: Adds a pop of color and mild onion flavor.
  • Peanuts: Adds a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.

Vegan Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients

  • Soy Sauce: regular or gluten-free soy sauce if needed. You can also substitute it with tamari.
  • Coconut Sugar: traditionally Pad Thai is made with palm sugar, which you can use in place of coconut sugar. But coconut sugar is easier to find at most North American grocery stores. You can also substitute with brown sugar, agave or maple syrup.
  • Lime: for some acidity.

How to make a Pad Thai with Tofu

Step 1

Heat some oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

tofu cut into cubes in a frying pan

Step 2

Add the garlic and garlic sprouts and mix together for one minute. Then add the rice noodles, soy sauce, coconut sugar and lime juice and mix.

tou and rice noodles in a frying pan with a hand pouring soy sauce into the pan

Step 3

Slowly add some water, about 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to mix until the noodles are soft. Then add in the bean sprouts and mix again.

tofu, rice noodles and beansprouts in a pan with a wooden spoon

Step 4

Serve immediately topped with some scallions and crushed peanuts on top.

a bowl of vegan pad thai on a grey napkin with a side of cilantro

Recipe variation ideas

  • Swap tofu with tempeh or edamame for added protein variation.
  • Add your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or broccoli.
  • For a spicy kick, add some sriracha or chili flakes to the sauce.
  • Try using zucchini or sweet potato noodles for a low-carb option.

What to serve with Tofu Pad Thai

Tofu Pad Thai can be served on its own or as a side with other Thai dishes. Here are some great options to serve with this Pad Thai:

How to Store and Reheat Pad Thai

Store leftovers of this Vegan Pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave until warmed through or gently reheat in a skillet on the stovetop.

Expert tips for making Tofu Pad Thai

  • Use extra-firm tofu: if you want crispy cubes of tofu, opt for extra-firm tofu in this recipe.
  • Use a large pan: Use a wok or large pan to ensure even cooking and proper mixing of ingredients.
  • Don’t overcook your rice noodles: Rice noodles cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook the noodles!
  • Adjust seasoning if needed: Adjust the sweetness and saltiness of the sauce to your taste preferences by adding more coconut sugar or soy sauce.
  • Add garnish: Garnish with fresh lime wedges and chopped peanuts just before serving for an extra burst of flavor and texture.
vegan pad thai in a ceramic bowl with sliced scallions and a wedge of lime

Vegan Pad Thai FAQs

Is Pad Thai gluten-free?

Yes! Traditionally Pad Thai is gluten-free. In this recipe as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce the Pad Thai will be gluten-free.

Is Pad Thai Vegan?

Traditionally, Pad Thai is not vegan since it’s made using fish sauce, egg, and often times in Thailand even find dried shrimp. This recipe however is vegan-friendly!

What kind of noodles are best for Pad Thai?

Flat dried rice noodles are best to use for Pad Thai. You can find these at most grocery stores or your local Asian supermarket.

Why do you soak Pad Thai noodles?

Since Pad Thai noodles cook very fast, they are traditionally soaked in water for a few minutes to make them more pliable and then added directly to the stir fry pan. Since the noodles will cook more in the pan, you’ll end up with perfectly cooked noodles. If you boil the noodles before adding them to the pan, they can become overcooked and start sticking together.

Can I make Pad Thai ahead of time?

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the sauce and chop the vegetables in advance for quicker assembly when ready to cook.

Can I make Pad Thai without peanuts?

Yes. Leave the peanuts out of this recipe for a peanut-free option.

Try these delicious noodle recipes next!

If you tried this Tofu Pad Thai or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagramTiktok and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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vegan pad thai

Tofu Pad Thai

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan


A simple Tofu Pad Thai recipe that is easy to make and takes less than 20 minutes!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 pack rice noodles (approx 7 oz)
  • 1/2 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup-1/2 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful garlic chives (can sub regular chives)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (can sub agave, maple syrup)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • crushed peanuts and sliced scallion for serving


  1. Boil water and pour it into a large bowl. Add the rice noodles to the bowl of water and soak until tender, but not too soft. (they should still be slightly undercooked and have some firmness to them.) Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat then add the tofu and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  3. Push the tofu to the side of the pan, turn the heat to medium and add the garlic noodles, garlic chives, soy sauce, coconut sugar and lime juice to the pan.
  4. Slowly add some water to the pan, 1-2 tbsp at a time to prevent the noodles from sticking and allowing to cook fully through.
  5. Turn the heat to low, add the bean sprouts and mix together.
  6. Top with crushed peanuts and sliced scallions 


Pad Thai is best enjoyed immediately. 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/3 recipe
  • Calories: 265
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 8g